Reviews by Andres S

Hearts of Iron IV: No Step Back

No Step Back? Two steps forward!

The new update and expansion have changed several HoI4 mechanics for good. Though the new supply system, which is great, was included in the free update, there are good reasons to buy this expansion:

1) Tank designer. Making your own versions for tanks, tank destroyers, self-propelled artillery... is funny but also relevant to simulation and strategical choices (adapted variants or multi-purpose tanks to optimize your prodution line?), and it also adds versatility to division composition.

2) Army Officer Corps and Army Spirits. Though it seems the typical Paradox modifiers layer, it feels more organic, as your advisors may be your own generals once they're experienced enough, and there is really a choice behind the multiple options.

3) New National Focus Trees. Though I'm not a fan of the Baltic ones (they're good and funny, but I like "historical" WWII) the Soviet tree is amazing. Alt-history branches are good, but the "historical" path is very good, and there are some choices on which alternative, or on which order, you should take that brings interesting variations even in the most "orthodox" approach.

In conclusion, a great expansion for HoI4. No Step Back would top my HoI4 DLC ranking:

1) No Step Back
2) Waking the Tiger
3) La Resistance
4) Man the Guns
5) Death or Dishonor
6) Battle for the Bosporus
7) Together for Victory

by Andres S, Spain - Dec 23rd 2021
Was this helpful? Yes No

Stellaris: Aquatics Species Pack

Good, but not so relevant as other Stellaris DLCs. And a bit pricey.

This DLC is a "species pack", so you get what you expect: some new portraits for races, a new graphic design for their ships and special civics and origin for subaquatic empires. All this content is fine.

But it's more expensive than other species packs (Humanoids, Plantoids, Lithoids and Necroids are all 8$ / 8€), and I miss for this "species pack" something more like "Synthetic Dawn", the DLC centered on robotic empires which added all those features but also music and more content (events, a reworked crisis...).

So... Aquatics is good optional content for Stellaris, but I'd like to see on these species pack a more "integral" approach, à la Synthetic Dawn.

by Andres S, Spain - Nov 29th 2021
Was this helpful? Yes No

Europa Universalis IV: Origins Immersion Pack

Is this a comeback for EU4? I hope so!

After some bad releases (Leviathan, Golden Century), and the "fine but a bit underwhelming" Emperor, this is the first time in a couple of years that EU4 seems to be improving.

First of all, the free update released along this DLC is really good, killing a lot of bugs and improving some features, like institutions.

The DLC itself is good. It is completely optional: if you don't mind about Africa, don't bother to get it. But the content added (16 new mission trees) is an invitation to try something new in EU4. I also like the new approach to mission trees, as the new ones are a bit more complex than the usual "get a casus belli", which I welcome.

Finally, you get a revamped jewish religion mechanic, as well as a some sprites and music tracks.

So, Origins is a good DLC: it's not "required" to enjoy EU4, but it improves your game experience in a good bunch of countries.

by Andres S, Spain - Nov 26th 2021
Was this helpful? Yes No

HUMANKIND™ Digital Deluxe Edition

Not just an alternative for Civilization

I suppose it's unavoidable comparing Humankind to Civilization, so this is my take on it: I like both, I welcome the innovations Humankind bring to the genre, and I think (and hope!) they will coexist and thrive.

I won't say much about the conventional and expected features in a 4X game: they're well implemented and funny enough. But I think Humankind's main strength lives on its general design, way more streamlined than Civilization.

Though it's possible achieving a technological or "space race" victory, it doesn't feel as "gamey" as the religion or culture features in Civilization; Humankind's approach is closer to grand-strategy games like Europa Universalis IV: economy, diplomacy and military power are the real game, with several mechanics to influence them. I find this approach more organic, coherent and plausible than Civilization's.

I also love its dynamic cultural system, which allows you to "adapt" your strategy to your circumstances.

I'm looking forward to Humankind's development. Amplitude has done a great job in its initial release, so they've won my trust to what comes next.

by Andres S, Spain - Aug 21st 2021
Was this helpful? Yes No

Stellaris: Nemesis

A really good expansion for the "diplomatic" game in Stellaris

Where Federations (the previous Stellaris expansion) felt incomplete or plain, Nemesis is really adding relevant features as well as immersion.

Nemesis is mostly about the "dark side" of diplomacy: more options to covert ops and espionage, as well as imposing your rule over your partners.You can even become the crisis that could destroy the galaxy!

There are some balance issues still, but, as we know, they'll be fixed more sooner than later.

by Andres S, Spain - Apr 30th 2021
Was this helpful? Yes No

Europa Universalis IV: Leviathan

One of the worst EU4 expansions. You can skip it.

I assume the numerous bugs and balance issues will be fixed eventually. But, besides that, Leviathan is an underwhelmming EU4 expansion, with a bunch of disarrayed little mechanics that feels awkward in simulation terms (monuments), not well implemented (new diplomatic actions related to favors) or plainly wrong (moving development between countries).

Regarding to content (southeast Asia and Australia, totemic religion...), it's a mixed bag. I don't like the impression that it all comes to be some "buffs" to make easier "painting the map".

It's overpriced, also.

by Andres S, Spain - Apr 30th 2021
Was this helpful? Yes No

Imperator: Rome - Heirs of Alexander Content Pack

Will you be Alexander the Great's successor?

Alongside this expansion, a free update has brought Imperator Rome to a really great form. But, what's this DLC contribution to this "rebirth"?

First of all, regarding its title, it brings new content for the Diadochi, the generals that ruled the countries that emerged from Alexander's Empire after his death: Macedonia, Thrace, Egypt, the Seleucid and the Antigonid Empires.

It also introduces a new feature: the Wonder designer, that will allow you to build your own monumental Pyramid, Lighthouse, Partenon, etc. At a (great) cost, of course, but it'll improve your country's prestige and influence. This is a feature that, when it was announced, I didn't find it so appealling but once seen in the game I'm really appreciating it.

It also brings additional religion-related content for the Greek wolrd, as well as new music.

In conclusion, though I think it's an optional DLC for Imperator (none of its features are "required" to play), I think it's a very recommendable one.

by Andres S, Spain - Feb 19th 2021
Was this helpful? Yes No

Stellaris: Necroids Species Pack

The best species pack for Stellaris

Unlike another Stellaris species packs which are basically cosmetical (Plantoids and Humanoids) or which just add a small feature (Lithoids), Necroids bring a new way of playing the game, thanks to the new origin, trait and civics. You'll be able to use other species as a resource, in even more terrible ways than slavery.

I only miss new music tracks! Either way, Stellaris is a totally recommended DLC.

by Andres S, Spain - Nov 25th 2020
Was this helpful? Yes No

Hearts of Iron IV: Battle for the Bosporus

A very interesting bunch of what-ifs on WWII

Battle for the Bosporus is the first HoI4's DLC which doesn't add features (even 'Death or Dishonor' brought a few but interesting mechanics regarding equipment), so it's as completely optional as actually recommendable.

It adds their own national focus trees to three countries (Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria), which allows you to take another approach to WWII, as there's lot of 'alternate history' options for the three countries (like trying to reinstate the old Ottoman or Byzantine empires, joining one of the main factions in WWII, etc.). Yugoslavia and Romania are also revisited, but you'll need the aforementioned Death or Dishonor to enjoy their own trees.They are all quite interesting.

With all this game content (decisions, events, focus....) it also adds some new graphics for these countries, and three new music tracks, which are really good.

In conclusion, a good addition to Hearts of Iron IV which expands the numbre of countries that are interesting to play.

by Andres S, Spain - Oct 18th 2020
Was this helpful? Yes No

Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition

A superb game. Don't miss it!

I couldn't know where to start, so... I'll keep it simple. Crusader Kings 3 is a unique game. While other strategy games are comparable so you've got to get down to details to know which is better, CK3 is one of its kind. As a sequel, CK3 clearly improves CK2 (which is not easy as it received no less than 15 expansions in its 8 years lifespan).

I couldn't recommend it enough.

by Andres S, Spain - Sep 3rd 2020
Was this helpful? Yes No

Europa Universalis IV: Emperor

Good content for keeping EU4 relevant

In its free patch, Emperor expansion has brought very necessary changes and updates, as a totally revamped mercenary system, a better implementation of noble, burghers, clergy... and so on.

The DLC is not so "flashy" but it's still a good one. New content for several countries in Europe (like mission trees), new mechanics for the Holy Roman Empire and the Papal States... as well as a reworked system for the catholic faith. For the late game, revolutions have been improved too, now with new units for the revolutionary armies.

by Andres S, Spain - Jun 20th 2020
Was this helpful? Yes No

Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia Content Pack

New content for Greece during the rise of Rome

As in other Paradox games (HoI4 and Stellaris), this DLC is plenty optional. It gives more content to three greek powers (Athens, Sparta and Syracusae): a full set of missions, their own pantheon and some cosmetics (their own models for units and ships as well as new musical themes).

It also adds a little feature which digs deeper in the main theme of the free patch (religion): apotheosis (the deification of former rulers).

So... Magna Graecia follows a good model for DLCs, and its particular content is good enough to give Imperator Rome another try.

by Andres S, Spain - Apr 5th 2020
Was this helpful? Yes No

Stellaris: Federations

A weak expansion for Stellaris

Stellaris is a great game already. So expansions should make game features evolve, not just add clunky additions.

Federations is not the "diplomacy rework" I was expecting. New federation types are fine, but Stellaris lacks the "granularity" where this feature would really be useful (galaxies are too small... or empires too big to make the diplomatic game plenty meaningful).

But what is not working at all is Galaxy Community (sort of a "galactic senate" á la Star Wars). Too generic laws, unexisting internal dynamics... You barely pay attention to it.

What I've found better is the "origins" feature (your empire background).

My conclusion: as far as developers are still tweaking and balancing this patch and expansion I wish some of the features will improve. Meanwhile... I don't think Federations is good enough.

My personal ranking for Stellaris DLCs (expansions and story packs):

1. Utopia
2. Megacorp
3. Ancient Ruins

4. Leviathans
5. Synthetic Dawn

6. Distant Stars
7. Federations
8. Apocalypse

by Andres S, Spain - Apr 1st 2020
Was this helpful? Yes No

Hearts of Iron IV: La Résistance

Don't "resist" to one of the best expansion for HoI4!

HoI4's expansions follow a good design to make evolve a game as, though not compulsory to enjoy the base game, most of them improve it significantly, both in more content and deeper features. "La Résistance" is not an exception.

In content, I think "La Résistance" is the best addition to the series. Spanish and French new national focus trees are really good (lot of options), and the Spanish Civil War has become sort of a new game itself.

About features, the star in "La Résistance" is spionage, and this DLC really delivers. Intelligence is now a factor to take account in your military planning, and your agents and operations in enemy territory give new flavour to the game.

This is my current evaluation:

1. Waking the Tiger
2. La Résistance
3. Man the Guns
4. Death or Dishonor
5. Battle for the Bosporus
6. Together for Victory

by Andres S, Spain - Mar 15th 2020
Was this helpful? Yes No

Europa Universalis IV: Dharma Content Pack

The standard content pack for EU4

No more, no less: some nice graphics to help you immerse into the lands of India, as well as good music —three new tracks, about 12 minutes in total—. Completely optional.

by Andres S, Spain - Feb 12th 2020
Was this helpful? Yes No

Imperator: Rome

A very recommendable "grand-strategy in the Classical Era" game.

UPDATED (2.0):

After its new pacth (2.0) I have to increase my score, and encourage my recommendation, for Imperator: Rome.

Besides a complete UI change, which is an improvement both aesthetically as in usability, and information availabilty, I think it's sure to say IR has found its voice among the Paradox portfolio.

Several game features, like the economy and the military, are now satisfactory integrated in the developtment of your population and your cities. Forget more or less arbitrary "mana": you've got to build a thriving civilization to get the resources you'll need to project your power in the world.

You can't ignore the demands of a cultural and religious diverse country or you'll find a sub-par economy, and eventually rebellions and secession wars. The great men (and women) in your country may help to improve your government... and their ambition could get you into a civil war.

Replayability, one of Paradox's games strenghts, is achieved finally after this udpate thanks to the revamped "inventions" feature, that will allow you to follow alternative ways to make your country thrive.

I just hope future updates would allow us to see the development of Imperator Rome potential. Anyways, it's now a very good grand-strategy game wich I highly recommend.


After two patches the game is way better now than in its original release. The main improvements have taken place in population management (it's more related to game evolution, feeling more organic) and "mana", which has been replaced into interactions among game features.

Naval warfare has now some interest, and your military specialization depends more on what you're doing with your armies (combat historial, drilling...) rather than spending mana now and then.

It's the "less good" grand strategy game among Paradox's, and it still lacks personality (it features look mere trasnposition from EU4, Stellaris and CK2 yet), but... it's a good game itself, and the studio seems committed to improve it dramatically. You may give it a chance.


Paradox has a name in strategy that Imperator: Rome is not up to.

I:R looks more an Europa Universalis 4 mod rather than a brand new game. The gameplay is just dull: all relevant features are better in other Paradox games. You have to deal with characters but they're far from the complexity of Crusader Kings 2. Your have some empire building to do but diplomacy or internal politics are well below from EU4.

Every Paradox game has its own core: character and dinastic relationships in CK2, regional and world projection in EU4, industrial warfare in Hearts of Iron 4, exploration and empire-building in Stellaris... Imperator: Rome is just not there. We'll see if the game is changed in further developments, as Paradox is used to do.

by Andres S, Spain - Jun 21st 2019
Was this helpful? Yes No

Stellaris: Ancient Relics Story Pack

Improving Stellaris Mid-game... and lore.

Ancient Relics is a small expansion for Stellaris, but I find it more interesting than the last one of these "story packs" (Distant Stars).

From the beginning Stellaris has brought us some misteries (fallen empires, extinct precursors in space exploration, supernatural crisis...) and Anticent Relics develops what happened to those precursors. This DLC introduces a few more precursors as well as a new feature that reworks space exploration: archeology.

The interesting thing about Ancient Relics is that eXploration, which is the first phase in every 4X game, gets a new life in the mid and mid-late game, as you can only explore the most complex archeological sites when you have proper reasearchers, and the outcomes of this activity (minor artifacts and relics) can have an effect during all the game.

In conclusion, a recommended DLC for giving new life to the best current space 4X game.

by Andres S, Spain - Jun 21st 2019
Was this helpful? Yes No

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI: Gathering Storm

One step forward

Thought not as revolutionary as other Civilization expansions, Gathering Storm is a good addition to the game. We've got a new feature for the series (not just a reiteration): changing (and sort of manipulable) environment, and new content is enabled for the mid-late game (energy as a new resource). New diplomatic actions are included, around the concept of diplomatic favors.

In conclusion, as Civ6 started in a better shape than Civ5, expansions are not as a "game-change" and they were before, but they're interesting either way.

by Andres S, Spain - May 5th 2019
Was this helpful? Yes No

Hearts of Iron IV: Man the Guns

Improving naval warfare

Man the Guns brings some features already developed for land combat to the sea, like new skills for admirals and "terrain" effects. The whole point in the expansion is the brand new design system for ships and fleets, that allows some specialization, mainly on small ships, as well as giving different "missions" to your task forces, reducing micromanagement this way. The only problem I have is that, in general, naval warfare doesn't feel as relevant as it should in game terms, so according to your play style this expansion could be an "overkill".

HoI4 DLCs usually give us new content for countries. UK and USA new alternate history paths are good enough. Opting for Mexico or the Netherlands (instead of countries like Spain or Turkey) may seem not so urgent but they're fine.

Man the Guns improves HoI4 overall, and it gives you some new ways to play the USA or UK. But it's a step below Waking the Tiger, as it's not as impactful.

by Andres S, Spain - May 5th 2019
Was this helpful? Yes No

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI: Rise and Fall

Very good addition to Civilization VI, though... still not best Civ

Rise and Fall makes Civilization VI grow in almost every aspect. Diplomacy is enhanced with new options and interactions, internal "politics" is more relevant thanks to your cities loyalty (they can left your empire!) and governors... And Golden / Dark Ages bring makes the midgame more dinamic.

Rise and Fall is an important step forward but Civ6 is still lacking a bit to become the best Civilization experience.

by Andres S, Spain - Feb 21st 2019
Was this helpful? Yes No